What would be more impressive than climbing Everest? How about climbing Everest, then leaping off the summit in a paraglider and floating to the ground, then bicycling till you found some navigable stream, then paddling a kayak down the Ganges to the Indian Ocean? No, seriously. That’s what these two bold Nepalese adventurers thought up, even though one had no climbing experience and the other had never been in a kayak, and didn’t know how to swim. Nevertheless, without corporate sponsors or even their own equipment, they attempted and achieved their dream. They called it the Ultimate Descent.
Along the way, Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa were attacked by robbers at knifepoint, forced to subsist on fruit trees, had trouble breathing at sea level, got caught in a whirlpool in Class V rapids, and when they finally reached the Indian Ocean they were alarmed by giant red scorpions (actually crabs — they had never seen such creatures before).
Hailed as heros in their native Nepal, the two friends won the 2012 Peoples’ Choice Award in the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year competition.
Said Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa: “When we got home, we were very excited to share our story not just with Nepal, but all over the world. There were a lot of foreigners who came to set records. We weren’t after a record, we just wanted to do all these things, climbing, paragliding, kayaking in one continuous trip.”
Full story at National Geographic.
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Photograph by Sano Babu Sunuwar